According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, there are approximately 300,000 hip replacements every year in the U.S. Many older adults turn to the procedure to help ease the pain of deteriorating hip joints that impact their ability to perform necessary daily activities like walking. Often the result of osteoarthritis, hip replacement is frequently the next step after medication proves ineffective.
Hip replacements: The facts
Hip issues are so common in the aging body because they are a result of several causes – not just osteoarthritis. The AAOS reported that severe hip bone deterioration can also be a result of rheumatoid or inflammatory arthritis, osteonecrosis and dysplasia. Even a previously broken hip can require a hip replacement due to trauma.
The pain caused by deteriorating hip joints can be so excruciating that patients cannot sleep or stand up for long periods of time. Joshua Jacobs, a professor and chairman of orthopedic surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, recommended that hip surgery is carefully considered only once this is the case.
According to U.S. News and World Report, although it is true that bone fragility and conditions like osteoporosis are most common in older adults, they frequently occur in younger adults as well. Jacobs reported that many of his patients who have received hip replacements due to inflammatory arthritis have been in their 20s or 30s, according to the news source. It is particularly common in younger women who have grown up with dysplasia.
Since hip replacement operations are so common as a means to prevent pain associated with bone fragility, it is important that patients consider all steps of the process carefully.
5 factors to be aware of before hip replacements
- According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a full recovery after hip replacement surgery can take up to six months. Therefore, choosing the right doctor is crucial to make the surgery worth your time and effort. Ask your potential doctor for the appropriate orthopedic documentation to properly inform you on all the details regarding the intended procedure so you are certain this is the doctor for you.
- There are several artificial joints that surgeons can use for the surgery, including some that are made from combinations of materials such as chrome, plastic, titanium or ceramic, according to U.S. News and World Report. Mathias Bostrom, the orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery, recommended choosing a device that has a proven success rate rather than a newer one, no matter how talked up it is.
- Incision is another big decision that must be made by patients. There have been mixed reviews regarding the success of the new method, which is the anterior hip approach. Many surgeons claim that recovery is faster and muscle damage is less extensive. However, there have not been studies performed that prove this yet.
- It is important to remember that even in the case that both hips are causing extreme pain, it is never a good idea to have both hips worked on at the same time. According to the AAOS, the best approach to take is getting one done and allowing yourself to regain your strength before you have the other operated on, as cardiovascular and pulmonary complications are common during bilateral procedures.
- Know that hip replacement surgery in many cases is known to have significant beneficial results, such as improved mobility and reduced pain. However, although it is good to focus on these outcomes, it is just as essential that you keep in mind the lengthy recovery process involved. Familiarize yourself with the proper steps to protect your new hip and avoid postsurgery problems.